The Hotel de l'Etat Major, or head department of the army, immediately fronting the Winter palace, is likewise one of the many striking piles , of buildings in the "City of Palaces," and remarkable for its vast extent and singular architectural ornament of a chariot of Victory, drawn by eight horses, which are rearing and plunging in all directions to the no small discomfort of the plumed and mailed lady who drives the team. Prom the arch over which the group is placed one of the most pleasing views of the Winter palace and likewise of the adjacent buildings may be obtained.
In the open space between the Etat Major and the Winter palace stands the greatest monolith of modern times, the column erected to the memory of the late emperor Alexander—a single shaft of red granite, which, exclusive of pedestal and capital, is upward of eighty feet in height. This beautiful monument is the work of Monsieur Montferrand, the architect of the church of St. Isaac, and was erected under his superintendence. The shaft originally measured one hundred and two feet, but it was subsequently shortened to its present dimensions from a fear that its diameter was insufficient for so great a length. The base and pedestal is also composed of one enormous block of the same red granite, of the height of about twenty-five feet, and nearly the same length and breadth; the capital measures sixteen feet, the statue of the angel on the summit fourteen feet, and the cross seven feet—in all about a hundred and fifty feet.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855